D.C. Restaurant Roundup: Sweetgreen, Founding Farmers, Astro, Busboys & Sculpture Garden
Washington, D.C. is an interesting place to be a vegetarian: Typically, when we visit big cities, we can find veg-only restaurants with accompanying veg-friendly (read: cheap) prices. That wasn’t so much the case in D.C., as we dined side-by-side with carnivores for most our meals. We still had delicious dishes, but the prices were more in tune with the neighboring meat items on the menu.
All that said these are five of our must-visit food joints while in D.C.:
First tings first, if you plan on eating dinner at this trendy locale, make sure you have a reservation. We did, thankfully, and were seated immediately upon arriving, even though others were waiting. The menu—a mix of staples like chicken pot pie and burgers and creative dishes like butternut squash mascarpone ravioli and mushroom Swiss Rueben—specializes in comfort food. I went for the “many vegetable mushroom ‘meat’ loaf,” which came drizzled with some sort of delicious gravy, flash-fried broccoli and homemade mashed potatoes. Fantastic. Caitlyn got the cauliflower steak and risotto. The “steak” itself was a little bland, but the risotto was rich and flavorful. We topped it off with a massive piece of Red Velvet Cake and ice cream, both of which were decadent and well worth the 8 bucks. One low-point of the night: Service was a bit slow…like, really slow, up until we actually ordered (we waited a good 15 minutes before we could give our order). Also, the hostess couldn’t be bothered to look at the people talking to her in the entryway, rather, she needed to be transfixed on the screen in front of her. I’m sure that screen lists all her tables, but still, manners, please. One more thing: It’s loud. Really, really loud in there. Not the best for a date night.
A popular bookshop-meets-restaurant, this local chain offers everything from brunch to dinner. We swung by for brunch one day and lunch another at the flagship at 14th and V Streets and were not disappointed either time. With an ample and creative menu, carnivores and vegetarians alike can dine in harmony while taking in some ‘60s tunes in this quirky eatery. We recommend the grilled brie Panini and sweet potato fries or the Oaxaca omelet, which is like a black bean burrito brunch-i-fied.
A fast-casual sort of place, Sweetgreen is a bit like Freshii. Big, filling bowls of quinoa, grains, meat, tofu or avocado, tossed with veggies and unique dressings, like the avocado vinaigrette make this a great place to swing into if in a hurry. With several locations around D.C., it’s not too difficult to swing in at least once. The pricing is also on point and the real health freaks can get house kombucha (which sounds disgusting to me, but to each their own).
The first place we visited in D.C. for food was this hole-in-the-wall doughnut shop off G Street between 13th and 14th Streets. As its name suggests, you’ll find craft doughnuts and fried chicken here. Now, Caitlyn and I are not huge doughnut fans, but we needed a mid-morning snack, it was on the way to the museum and I had just seen this place on a list of the best doughnuts in the country. It did not disappoint. The doughnuts were light and fluffy, as well as flavorful. Mine came with Nutella on top and Caitlyn went for a Boston cream concoction. Nutritious? No. Delicious? Yes!
Museum restaurants usually suck, however, hidden away in the sculpture garden next to the National Gallery of Art, is one such establishment that defies the odds. The Pavilion Café offers up fascinating pairings, like a quinoa-peach-pickled red onion salad with champagne vinaigrette and a curried cauliflower and hummus tartine sandwich. The menu’s not what you’ll find at most places along the National Mall, but that’s a good thing! The prices are little high, but the quality of the food is top notch.